Made in Reading

Client background:

Toby Davies is the founder of Reading’s premier professional theatre company ‘Reading between the lines’. The term professional is a key word in the company’s ideals; they work with people from the West End, RSC, National Theatre, film and TV to create a high quality performance.


Restated brief:

The objective was to create a logo, which would be used as a stamp in order to illustrate the high quality of home grown talent in Reading. Therefore the client came up with the concept ‘Made in Reading’. The logo would be used on screen and in print e.g. on websites, small leaflets and large scale posters. It was therefore important to ensure it was appropriate for all sizes and mediums. The client requested a handmade appearance, which conveyed quality and professionalism whilst also relating to the ‘Reading between the Lines’ logo.


Design journey:

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Initially we came up with 14 rough ideas. Out of these ideas we chose what we thought could be the most successful and categorised them as ‘handmade’, ‘overlap’, ‘stamp’ and ‘label’ and made some refinements to these ideas to show our client.

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The client was really pleased with the overlapping idea and liked the red and black colour scheme he had asked for. At this point we decided to create more variants of the logo using different typefaces. We found that Hermes created the best overall shape and formed nice clean shapes within itself as the letters lined up better than with other fonts. Despite finding an appropriate font, we found that the logo had a lack of the hand-made element the client had wanted.

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Our supervisor advised us to mock up different sized printed items with different layouts. We tested out the logos on both white and black backgrounds, as well as on top of photographs and images and it then became clear that it was necessary to create several versions of the same logo for different backgrounds. This was a crucial realisation in terms of designing a logo and helped us understand the importance of doing so.



We tried out various textures within the ‘MADE IN’ instead of having the black and red block colours. We arrived at the above texture but found that it didn’t work very well on top of all images due to the white behind the texture so we decided to remove the white in Adobe Illustrator for various textures to see which would be the most effective.

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Below are the red and black versions of the texture we have used in the final logo. We image traced all the above textures but found that this one was the most successful when the white was removed. This image also had the advantage of being quite different at the top and the bottom so we were able to choose the part of the image which looked best in the text.


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Explanation of final solution:

The final design used a concept of combining the ‘in’ with ‘Reading’ emphasising the overall message of the home grown talent which has come from Reading. Hermes was the chosen typeface used as it contains thick strokes that allow the handmade quality of the texture to be visible, whilst also keeping with the professional tone. Furthermore, it was also necessary to create three variants of the logos; a colour, black and white and reversed (for use on black backgrounds). ­



We presented the final designs to Toby on a range of printed materials to show how each logo would be used and he was very pleased with the final outcome, and particularly like the overall concept of the play on words.

However from the very start of the job, the client seemed unsure of what he actually wanted. He hadn’t got any examples of what the logo was likely to be used on but stated that it was for various small and large scale printed items such as leaflets and posters. The main problem we encountered was not knowing where the logo would be positioned: for example whether it would be a main feature of a poster or would it sit alongside other logos in a subtle way at the bottom of a piece. Despite having difficulty grasping the concept of the brief and certain requirements, we learned that suggesting ideas towards the client can have a positive outcome, not only can you make the job easier for yourself but you can create something which is even better than the client had hoped.

We also learned from the Design and Print Studio how logos should be formatted for different mediums. We now know how to not only create boundaries around a logo but how to use the settings in Adobe Illustrator to save the file in a format where the boundaries would not disappear. As well as this we found out how to save files so they woud not remove any transparency. However, when sending the final files to the client, we had some technical difficulty with the boundaries not showing up as they should have and parts of the logos which were transparent did not perform properly when the client opened them so we had to play around with file settings multiple times which actually reinforced the act of setting files up correctly.

We were lucky that we were working for a client who was very open to our ideas and this made the whole process quite exciting. Sometimes it was frustrating that certain textures wouldn’t work on top of images but we developed problem solving skills and also technical skills during the design process and are both pleased with the outcome.